The U11 AFC Henley Hurricanes went down fighting as they lost 8-3 at home to top of the table Eversley & California Rangers.
The habitually slow starting Hurricanes managed to outdo even themselves as they went 1-0 down in the opening 10 seconds as the visitors lit the fuse on an explosive performance.
1 quickly became 2 as the Hurricanes struggled to get a foothold in the game as Eversley showed their class with a well taken finish. Ben Horner in the home goal was called upon to make a number of fine saves as he looked to keep the scoreline respectable in the face of the Eversley fireworks.
However, as the Hurricanes became accustomed to their new defensive formation they started to grow in confidence and begin to create openings of their own. The strike force of Tom Yeoman and Tom Bonser were linking well on the counter attack and this bore fruit at the end of the first quarter. Alec Steele sent Yeoman away with an inch perfect pass and Yeoman slid the ball home from 8 yards out as the first quarter ended 2-1 to the visitors.
It was in the second quarter that the wheels really came off the Hurricanes’ bus as they shipped 3 goals and went in to the half time break 5-1 down. There was no doubt of the class of the opposition although at times the hosts were guilty of their own downfall.
The third quarter started sloppily for the hosts as they conceded straight from their own kick off and then quickly again as the third quarter ended in a damp squib at 7-1.
The fourth quarter was a much more solid affair though as the hard working back 4 of Joe Turner, Olly Saunders, Daniel Tsoi and Tom Atkinson refused to give up as they tackled hard and worked tirelessly to stop the rot. This solid defensive platform allowed the Hurricanes to get on the front foot and Yeoman played in Bonser who made no mistake with a sparkler of a finish. The visitors struck back to make it 8-2 but the Hurricanes showed tremendous heart to battle back and have the last word in a tough encounter as Henry Steele showed his mettle as he finished with a rocket of a shot to make it 8-3 as the Hurricanes won the last quarter 2-1.
Managers Turner and Atkinson were said to be delighted by the resilience and heart the team showed and were looking forward to the rest of the season with a renewed optimism.